by Fred McMillin
for August 22, 1997

Winery of the Week

The New King on the Block

Prologue:

  • Dry Creek Valley, only two miles wide and sixteen miles long, is a superb viticultural region, ideal for the cultivation of Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.

  • Dry Creek hillside soil is composed of a geologically unique, gravelly material known as Dry Creek Conglomerate...red colored, of volcanic origin, and found nowhere else in Sonoma County.

    ...from books by James Halliday and Prof. John Baxevanis

The Rest of the Story: James Rowe is doing everything right. First, he founded Strategic Capital, Inc. in San Francisco. This provided some loose change so that he and wife Jane could get into the wine business. Second, they decided to get into the wine business in DRY CREEK. Third, they went for a location covered with that distinctive, flavor-imparting RED SOIL. Last, they sent my panel their Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc to taste...both of which are first rate.

So what's the name of this new (founded 1993) winery? Pezzi King, the family names of the mothers of James and Jane, respectively. of their 133 acres, 48 are covered with vines, and even as we speak, more are being planted. The emphasis is on low-yield, high-flavor grape production from their unique soil. James predicts his PK Vineyards wines are going to be among the best. Probably true, because, as we said, he does do things right.

Just the Facts

Name Pezzi King Vineyaras (also PK Vineyards)
Location Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, CA
New Tasting Room  
and Garden
Just north of Healdsburg
Owner Jane and James Rowe, with two sons and a daughter-in-law deeply involved.
Founded   1993
Winemaker Paul Brasset
Contact Marketing Director Tom Rozner, phone (707)569-1400 in Santa Rosa, CA.

The Wines—In addition to the Zin and Blanc, PK has released a cool-region, apple-vanilla Chardonnay and a berry, spicy Cabernet Sauvignon. Follow the evolution of their Cabs, as they are putting a big effort on that grape and Dry Creek Cabs are drawing more critical acclaim each year.

Postscript: About Dry Creek. It is NOT dry. The stream flows southeast through the valley and into the Russian River near Healdsburg.


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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